In hindsight, it’s Wei Wuxian’s fault.
Okay, maybe not everything. Jiang Cheng likes to think he’s mature enough to admit that he should shoulder some of the blame, but right now he’s too stressed, so he’ll just go and say it’s Wei Wuxian’s fault anyway.
After all, it's Wei Wuxian who, two weeks before the end of their summer break, just decided to go on that field trip with Lan Wangji, which ended up with Jiang Cheng being absolutely done with his brother, which ended up with Wei Wuxian talking nonsense, which then ended up with Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang in a relationship.
All in the span of less than 24 hours.
Okay, maybe Jiang Cheng should backtrack how things all led to that.
There were two weeks left of their summer break.
Lan Wangji was in a nearby town just outside Yunmeng on a Lan Sect related business. It was not a night hunt, just an errand that was too important for an average disciple but also not important enough for Lan Xichen to go himself.
This information, of course, was not something Wei Wuxian would have come across by himself.
No. No, of course, it came from Nie Huaisang, who had barged into Wei Wuxian's messy room without so much as a knock, promptly distracting Jiang Cheng from the book he's reading, and making Wei Wuxian look up from whatever he's very furiously scribbling in his desk. Probably a new talisman or something, seeing as said desk and the surrounding space around it is littered with burnt or crumpled ones.
That information is the one Nie Huaisang greeted his two best friends with, and he delivered it like sharing some juicy gossip while rocking a big and fluffy white cat in his arms like it was a baby.
"You're really leading with that?" Jiang Cheng said, putting his book down so he can lift his arms and make grabby hands towards the cat. "Not even a 'Good afternoon, Jiang-xiong, Wei-xiong. Do you want to hear something interesting?' "
Nie Huaisang rolled his eyes, but passed Chi the cat to Jiang Cheng anyway as he said, "Good afternoon, Jiang-xiong, Wei-xiong. I have returned from my shopping trip with your sister. Do you want to hear something interesting?"
Before Jiang Cheng could reply, Wei Wuxian had spun around in his chair, eyes bright and attentive. "Lan Zhan is in Yunmeng?! Why? Where is he? Is he coming here? How did you know? Did he tell you?"
Nie Huaisang blinked, then turned to Jiang Cheng. "How far is he?"
Jiang Cheng grimaced, while the cat in his arms booped his nose. "Four mugs."
"I thought we're supposed to be cutting him off after two?"
"I found him already like this! He didn't even look up when I got here until you arrived and started talking about Lan Wangji."
Wei Wuxian nodded, in a way that made Nie Huaisang worry for his neck muscles. "Yeah, I didn't even know A-Cheng was there."
"Okay, Wei-xiong, no more coffee." Huaisang said, walking over and collecting the mugs, carefully avoiding the notes, brushes, talismans and other 'important' items in his friend's desk.
Wei Wuxian watched helplessly as the mugs are transferred to another table, out of his reach. "Wait, A-Sang, what is it you were saying about Lan Zhan?"
Nie Huaisang promptly repeated what he had said, this time adding that no, Lan Wangji did not tell him, the tip was in fact from Lan Xichen, who knew that Nie Huaisang was staying with the Jiangs in Yunmeng. No, Wangji is not coming to Yunmeng, but Xichen has advised him to go to Lotus Pier if he ran into any trouble at all - after all, their sects have a good relationship, and Wangji knew Huaisang and the Jiang siblings.
"-so I texted Wangji and told him I'll be here for another week and if he’s not in a hurry, he should drop by to hang out with us, but he said no thanks, because, you know, typical Wangji- Ah, Wei-xiong, so fast with your phone, are you texting him now?"
Jiang Cheng groaned into white cat fur, while Nie Huaisang sat with him on the bed, grinning as they both watched Wei Wuxian tapping away on his phone with the same energy he had when scribbling his new ideas and inventions.
"Yeah, I'm inviting him! Maybe he'll say yes if it's me?"
"Oh..." Huaisang hums, teasing, earning an eye-roll from Jiang Cheng beside him. "If it's you , hm?"
"Nie-xiong, no, I don't mean it like that! We're not close or anything, I just mean- You're our guest, maybe he thinks if he goes here, he'll be imposing on your behalf or something! I live here, so if I invite him, that means he's welcome- Wait- A-Cheng, you're sect heir, you invite him!"
Jiang Cheng let it sit for a moment, just calmly stroking Chi's fur, and then he said, "Nope."
"A-Cheng, you need to learn how to be nice to-"
"Yes. But not today."
Wei Wuxian huffed, then went back to tapping diligently. "So mean. You're lucky Nie-xiong is good at these things. When you're leading the Jiang Sect, at least your husband can be nice for you."
"A-Cheng can be nice." Nie Huaisang mused. "Sometimes."
"I can!" Jiang Cheng seconded. "For starters, I'm nice enough not to bother Lan Wangji, who's minding his own business. And what husband are you talking a-"
"He replied!" Wei Wuxian said, jumping from his chair. As easily as his face lit up, it then fell. "He said no thanks. He’ll just stay in an inn nearby-"
"See? He knows what he's doing-"
"Aren't Lans supposed to be frugal? He can stay here for free!"
Nie Huaisang giggled. "You really remembered those Lan rules, Wei-xiong-"
"I copied lots of them. Hm, maybe I should just come to him? Nie-xiong, where did you say he was at, again?"
"Oh, I... don't know- Maybe ask him?"
"I already did. He won't tell me- Oh wait, I got it."
"He told you?"
"No, I asked Zewu Jun."
Jiang Cheng choked. "You know Zewu Jun's-"
"Yeah! Okay, it's still mid-afternoon and I've had four coffees, if I go by sword, I can get to Lan Zhan in no time!"
"Wait- Wei Wuxian- "
"I'll text shijie if we're gonna need an extra plate tonight!"
...and then he was out. Just like that. He left his brother and his best friend both sitting on his mess of a bed, staring at the window he left from.
Chi the cat meowed.
Jiang Cheng groaned, hand already itching to rub his temples. "He really took off, that idiot-"
Nie Huaisang reached over and patted his arm. "He'll be fine."
Wei Wuxian wasn't back by dinner, but that was okay - he told them he and Lan Wangji ate out and then met some very stressed disciples of a minor sect at the same fast food restaurant and decided to help them in their night hunt.
It checked out. Nie Huaisang said the most suspicious part of that update was Lan Wangji eating fast food, but, well, it wasn't an impossibility.
Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang covered for their friend by telling Madame Yu and Jiang Fengmian a half-truth - Wei Wuxian was indeed out helping some disciples night hunt.
Wei Wuxian didn't come back that night, and Jiang Cheng tried to think that it was okay too - apparently the disciples they helped offered them a place to stay in their sect for the night. That was only proper.
"They better be in separate rooms. In separate beds." Jiang Cheng muttered, glaring darkly at the message in his phone.
Nie Huaisang looked up from where he was drawing on his tablet at the foot of Jiang Cheng's bed. He giggled at the sight of his friend scowling and ready to fight, all while still very gently and lovingly petting Chi on his lap.
"What if there's only one bed, A-Cheng?"
"You write too much fanfiction, A-Sang."
"You like my fanfiction, though." Huaisang pouted. "Even the spicy ones, even though you're just reading them to correct my typos-"
"Yes, but don't apply it to my brother! I- Now I have images of him and that Lan Wangji in the things you write- Ugh- No- No, make it go away- "
Nie Huaisang laughed. "Relax, Jiang-xiong, Wangji is a Lan, he's out by nine! Right now, I bet he's already fast asleep and Wei-xiong is... I don't know, probably staring at his handsome, elegant face while he sleeps. Pining or whatever it is he does."
"You know... yeah, you're probably right."
Wei Wuxian was back the next morning, and he wasn't okay.
Nie Huaisang and Jiang Cheng were prepared to welcome a very cheerful and giddy Wei Wuxian - after all, even with the lack of Lan Wangji following after him to visit Yunmeng, Wei Wuxian still got to spend some quality time with his crush. (Even though he probably doesn't realize it was a crush that he has.)
Instead, they welcomed a... not sad, per se, but... a more subdued Wei Wuxian.
A quiet Wei Wuxian is not a happy Wei Wuxian.
Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang exchanged a look before sitting him down on his bed to interrogate him.
Jiang Cheng, ever direct, asked, "What's wrong, did that Lan Wangji do anything to you?"
"N-No...?" Wei Wuxian blinked, slow and confused before he shook his head and laughed nervously. "No! It's fine, what are you talking about, Jiang Cheng? Lan Zhan is a gentleman, he was very nice to me! Well... he looked really annoyed, but I think he was happy to see me. Probably. A bit. Like, maybe 10% happy. I'm fine, it's fine!"
Jiang Cheng stared at him, eyes narrowed. "You're not fine. You haven't touched your draft talismans."
"Ah, they'll still be there later... You guys always tell me to rest, so I'm resting." he insisted, smile still in place. When the two kept looking at him, he seemed to grasp at something else to say, and ended up with, "Can I hold your baby?"
Jiang Cheng frowned, but relented and handed Chi to him, who squirmed at the unfamiliar arms holding her, but eventually settled and purred with the gentle pets. Jiang Cheng will miss her when Nie Huaisang goes back home to Qinghe in a week.
"Ah, so soft..." Wuxian sighed, cuddling the cat. "I'm starting to see why you two spend so much time in that animal shelter... even though there are scary dogs in there..."
"Wei-xiong," Huaisang started, scooting closer, a smile behind his fan. "Did you have fun with Wangji last night?"
"Yeah, of course! You know, I thought he won't be fun anymore when he stopped always getting pissed at me, but he's still nice to hang out with." he replied, hiding his smile on Chi's fur before looking up again. "Too nice! I was really loud and annoying and I even whined about being tired coming all the way from Yunmeng - sshh, I know , I was just joking - but guess what, he kept checking in on me! So kind, that Lan Zhan..."
Nie Huaisang hummed, looking amused. "You know... Wangji only does that with people he likes, Wei-xiong."
Wei Wuxian stared at him for a beat before laughing again. "Ahahaha, don't even joke about that, A-Sang! I'm sure Lan Zhan was just too polite to send me away! Yeah, specially in front of those other disciples, too."
"You idiot." Jiang Cheng said, joining them on the bed.
His brother pouted. "What?"
Jiang Cheng took a second to consider and what he could come up with was "I don't know where to start."
Now Wei Wuxian looked more confused. "WHAT? Why are you two being weird? Are you guys mad at me? I'm sorry, I just wanted to invite Lan Zhan to Yunmeng in person, and it was good that I did, because we helped those poor junior disciples who weren't being taught properly by their seniors - really, we should tell Uncle Jiang about that, he probably knows their Sect Leader-"
Jiang Cheng let out a heavy sigh, bowing his head forward in resignation as he listened to his brother babble on. Due to where he sat, his forehead ended up bumping against the back of Nie Huaisang's shoulder, and he was rewarded with a light breeze from his friend's fan, as if in reassurance.
"-and we didn't even have to pay for a place to sleep- Wait, oh no, is Madame Yu mad at me? What did you tell her I was doing? Does she think I'm embarrassing the Jiang Sect? I was on my best behavior- Well, besides the teasing Lan Zhan part, but-"
Jiang Cheng groaned. "Wei Wuxian, I don't care anymore, just go and date him, maybe then you'll sound less dumb."
"Date him? Wha- Why?"
"I don't know, because you're like, in love with him or something?"
"What? Me, in- Jiang Cheng, where are you getting this?" He laughed, and oh God, he did look like he's convinced that he is not in love with Lan Wangji, and it made Jiang Cheng want to scream. "Also don't be silly, Lan Zhan is not interested in me!”
“Wei-xiong,” Nie Huaisang intervened, because he knew what Jiang Cheng would reply to that, and they really didn’t need that right now. “I told you before, right? I’ve known Wangji since we were kids, he only makes an effort to talk to people if he absolutely needs to, or if he legitimately likes them, and in your case-”
Wei Wuxian stared at him. “...he likes- like, he likes you ? Since he sends you bunny pictures?”
“Uh. Well. Yes, because we’re friends. But we’re not talking about me-”
“He also sends me bunny pictures! So Lan Zhan actually considers me his friend?”
“Wei Wuxian.” Jiang Cheng mourns, lifting his head from Huaisang’s shoulder to look at his brother. “Why are you like this.”
Wei Wuxian gaped at him. “What? I don’t know! Why are you like this, talking about me dating people! You never talked about this stuff before!”
“Yes, but that was before I had to spend a month watching you and Lan Wangji be stupid about each other, and just when I thought it was over , here you go again-”
“Lan Zhan and I are friends! Lan Zhan likes someone else, he told me! What do you know about liking people, Jiang Cheng? You don’t like people!”
Nie Huaisang felt his friend’s intake of breath behind him. Oh, dear. He knew that’s a touchy subject for Jiang Cheng, and normally Wei Wuxian would consider that too, but it was clear that he was being defensive and in turn wasn’t putting much thought into his words.
“Wei-xiong, we were just worried-”
“There’s nothing to worry about, I don’t like Lan Zhan that way anyway - why are we talking about me about these things, I- Shouldn’t we talk about Huaisang-xiong instead? He’s dating someone!”
Jiang Cheng blinked. “He is?”
“I am?” Huaisang asked.
Wei Wuxian only shrugged. “You tell us about your dates. With boys. Different boys, wait, actually, which one -”
“Oh, those!” Huaisang nodded, laughing awkwardly. “Well. They are dates, but… They’re really just that, and it’s not even a lot of dates, Wei-xiong. I’m not really dating anyone.”
“So there’s no… thing?”
“There’s no thing. Trust me, you’d know if there was a thing because I’ll tell you and Jiang-xiong that I have fled to Gusu to hide behind Lan Xichen until da-ge calms down.”
“That’s very specific. Have you done that before?”
“Yes.” he said. When the other two remained quiet, he smiled. “No, I’m not telling you the details.”
“ Noooo, Huaisang-xiong!” Wei Wuxian whined, but when Huaisang only giggled behind his fan, he quickly sighed and gave up. “So, none of us are dating people, let’s just stop this talk of dating, okay? I’m the eldest here, I’m in charge. No more dating talk!”
“Like hell you’re in charge.” Jiang Cheng snorted.
The so-called ‘eldest’ leveled him with an unimpressed look. “Jiang Cheng, stop being mean to me just because no one would date you.”
Jiang Cheng let out a strangled noise. Huaisang could only sigh internally again - not even one moment of peace with these brothers... “Wei-xiong, don’t say that... your brother is very dateable, objectively-speaking.”
“Is he?” Wei Wuxian asked. “Would you date him, A-Sang?”
Huaisang, ever an ally, nodded without hesitation. “Yes.”
“Really?” Wei Wuxian raised an eyebrow.
“Really.” Huaisang said, now for some reason determined to defend his best friend against… well, his other best friend.
He never liked taking sides when it came to the brothers, they were both his best friends. But he also knew this conversation was getting into Jiang Cheng’s insecurities and Wei Wuxian was too focused on deflecting attention from himself to realize it, so it’s up to him to find a balance somewhere.
With a confident nod, he concludes: “A-Cheng is nice to me.”
“What? Is that your only requirement? Everyone is nice to you!”
“Uh. He’s also handsome and strong. And he spoils me a lot. That’s nice.”
“He’s also right here.” Jiang Cheng said, tugging lightly at Nie Huaisang’s hair, more annoyed than embarrassed. “Stop gossiping about him.”
Huaisang patiently tapped his arm with his fan. “A-Cheng, I’m defending your honor here.”
“My honor doesn’t need defending from Wei Wuxian .” he sneers, with feeling.
Said Wei Wuxian was looking at them both with narrowed eyes. “What about you, A-Cheng? Would you date Huaisang-xiong?”
“I-” Jiang Cheng stopped short. “What?”
Wei Wuxian gasped, clutching Chi tight to his chest. “Oh, wow, after all you do for him, Huaisang-xiong? He hesitates? A-Cheng, you don’t think A-Sang is dateable?”
This time it was Huaisang’s turn to freeze. How did things get to this?
Meanwhile, Jiang Cheng looked offended on Huaisang’s behalf, like he isn’t the one that caused the reaction in the first place. “What the fuck, of course he is! How dare you-”
“So you’d date him?” Wei Wuxian asked, with a grin that told Nie Huaisang that huh, maybe he isn’t in control of this situation anymore...
Jiang Cheng blinked, before clearing his throat and saying, “Y-Yeah.”
“Why- You just said-” Jiang Cheng shook his head, at a loss. He felt his cheeks heat up, but he was nothing if not stubborn, and he simply said, “Well, he’s Huaisang. Why not ?”
“He’s also right here.” Huaisang mumbled, his fanning growing more hectic as he looked between the two brothers. “And he doesn’t know what’s happening anymore.”
“Okay, okay, so you like each other?” Wei Wuxian said, grin growing wider. “And, according to you both, if you like someone, you should just tell them and date them. So, you’ll be dating each other now, then?”
Oh, dear, Huaisang thought. He didn’t know how, but Wei Wuxian managed to get one over him this time. He looked at Jiang Cheng, who looked back at him - ‘ Ah, he’s got that face on’ - and he knew that his best friend is not backing down. Oh, well.
There could be worse things.
Jiang Cheng turned to his brother and huffed. “Fine. Yeah. Whatever. We’re dating. Sure. Right, A-Sang?”
“Hm. I supposed we are now, A-Cheng.” Huaisang said, daintily fluttering his fan to hide the color in his cheeks. “Your junior disciples were asking an update on our relationship status, anyway.”
Wei Wuxian stared at them, mouth agape. “Wait, that worked?”
“Yes, Wei Wuxian, it’s that simple .” Jiang Cheng said, smug, determined to not let this fluster him. It was quite impressive, really.
Any further discussion was interrupted by a knock on the door and someone’s voice telling Young Masters Jiang and Wei that Sect Leader Jiang was calling all the disciples for a meeting about their routine night hunts.
Wei Wuxian handed the cat back to Nie Huaisang and hurried off, intent on escaping any more questions about Lan Wangji. Jiang Cheng lingered a bit longer, in a daze, his earlier actions finally sinking in.
“A-Cheng,” Huaisang said, shifting so he could face his friend- well, boyfriend now, maybe? “You know we can just tell him we weren’t serious, if you’re uncomfortable.”
“I know.” he grumbled, and he finally sounded just a touch flustered - good, because otherwise Nie Huaisang would think he’s been possessed - as he reached forward to pet Chi. “But… well. I’m... not uncomfortable.”
“I’m just… gonna go to the meeting then.”
Nie Huaisang nodded, smiling lightly. “Okay.”
“Okay.” Jiang Cheng nodded back as he stood up. “Um. See you later.”
He dropped a kiss to Huaisang’s head, and then left.
So yeah, it is Wei Wuxian’s fault, right?
And now Jiang Cheng is stressed. Well, stressed was a strong word too, but he’s just… more like... conflicted , maybe.
Because it’s now been three days since he and Nie Huaisang, for some reason (read: Wei Wuxian), are dating each other, and…
Nothing has changed.
Aren’t things supposed to... change?
Now, Jiang Cheng is walking in the park with Nie Huaisang, both with one hand holding the leashes of at least five dogs - not new, they’ve been asked the more energetic shelter dogs together before. Huaisang is holding on to his arm - also not new, Huaisang always liked to cling to him when they walk together and Jiang Cheng is used to it.
The day before, Huaisang was up early in the morning and was standing with Yanli to welcome Jiang Cheng, Wei Wuxian and the other disciples home from their night hunt. That was not new either, as Huaisang usually did that whenever he was staying in Lotus Pier. Huaisang had greeted him with a hug, though - but Huaisang always liked hugging him when he felt like it, anyway, so that wasn’t new either.
The day before that, they spent time with Wei Wuxian swimming and just hanging around by the lake in Lotus Pier. When he got tired, Huaisang retreated to the side with his tablet and began drawing. Soon enough Jiang Cheng sat with him to watch him draw and color while Wei Wuxian rummaged through their picnic basket for snacks to pass around. Jiang Cheng took a nap with his arm loosely wrapped around Nie Huaisang’s waist. That... was not new either, come to think of it.
So, yes. nothing has changed, except that Wuxian calls them ‘lovebirds’ now and Yanli-jie looks at them with dreamy, fonder-than-usual eyes and Jiang Fengmian watches them more intently during family meals.
Of all the things that would make his father look at him, Jiang Cheng never thought this was on the list. But he’s not unpacking that right now. Nope. Another day.
Even Madame Yu hasn’t changed. They told her they were dating and she said “That’s noted.” and that was that.
“Huaisang.” Jiang Cheng says. He waits for Huaisang to stop humming and look at him. “Should we be doing… something else?”
“Something else?” Huaisang blinks. “Are we forgetting anything? We’ve fed the puppies before we left and now we’re walking the big dogs. That’s all that’s been assigned to us today-”
“No, no, I mean, with… us.”
“The… relationship thing.”
Jiang Cheng sighs. He stops walking, causing Huaisang to stop walking as well, which in turn causes the dogs to crowd around them. He ignores them for now. “Huaisang. We’re supposed to be dating now. Nothing has changed.”
Huaisang laughs, awkward. “Do you… want something to change?”
“I don’t know. Yes- No? Maybe? I don’t even know what’s supposed to change, really, I don’t have… experience on this. Besides reading your fanfiction because you asked me to look for typos. You have experience.”
“Ah, how many times should I say it?” Huaisang groans, exasperated. “I’ve gone out with three boys, on one date each! That’s it! That’s not dating!”
“Fine. Well, what did you do with them?”
“We ate out.”
“Okay.” Jiang Cheng nods, considering. They don’t eat out, but that’s only because Yanli-jie stuffs them both with more than enough food at home. Wait, maybe street food is counted.
“I went to the movies with one of them.”
They’ve done that, definitely. Usually with Wei Wuxian or Yanli-jie, but they’ve gone with just the two of them, once or twice. “And? What else?”
“I don’t know, we held hands? And talked?”
“We hold hands and talk all the time.”
Huaisang lets out another sigh, and he lets go of Jiang Cheng’s arm so he could cup his cheek. “A-Cheng, I say this with love. You have a bad habit of comparing yourself to other people, and I know that makes you work harder and better most of the time, but don’t do that now. We’re three days into this dating thing, and I really like you, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we make a super cute couple, so let’s just enjoy this, okay?”
Jiang Cheng takes a deep, calming breath before nodding. “Okay." he says, then after a beat, he squints. "Wait- we’re cute?”
“Yes, don’t you see how Yanli-jie looks at us?”
“She’s only doing that because I’m her baby brother.”
“Nope, maybe partially, but nope. Trust me.”
Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes, still unconvinced. “Fine.” He turns to keep walking, gently nudging the dogs pawing at their legs to tell them they’re moving again. Then he offers his arm to Nie Huaisang.
Nie Huaisang takes it once more, and they walk again.
“You really like me?”
“Jiang Wanyin, I just spent what seems like half of my month in Gusu letting you use me as a pillow while listening to you complain about your brother, and then I spent the rest of this summer break in Yunmeng because you asked, and then I agreed to be your boyfriend to prove a point to the same brother you’ve been complaining about.”
Jiang Cheng winced. “I… Did I… really take up your summer break that much?”
“No! Ah, you’re just as bad as your brother sometimes.”
“My point is, when did you ever see me do anything I didn’t want to do?”
“So no more of this talk! I only have four days left here in Yunmeng, I wanna spend quality time with my brand new boyfriend, before school starts again and I only get to see you every other weekend! Oh, and we’re gonna have to give Chi back to my cousin. I’ll miss her...”
“I’ll miss her too.” he says, frowning at the thought of parting from the cat they’ve been pet-sitting for almost a month. “Though Wei Wuxian is spending an awful lot of time with her lately. He keeps taking her away. I heard him talking to her.”
“Yeah, I think he’s using her as a sounding board, because he can’t use us anymore... because we keep telling him he has a crush on Wangji.”
“Because he does have a crush on Lan Wangji, that dumbass, we should just tell him again-”
“Now, now… Let’s not fight two losing battles in a week, A-Cheng.”
Jiang Cheng is lying on the bed, one hand on his phone, scrolling through his social media feed, his other arm splayed to his said so Nie Huaisang can use it as a pillow while he also scrolls through his own social media feed.
“Did you kiss those other boys you went on dates with?”
“No, actually, the only boy I kiss is you.”
“ Huh. ”
“Wait, have we actually been dating for the past year ?”
“I... think you’re onto something here.”
Chi meows from her spot in Jiang Cheng’s stomach, as if agreeing with them.
A voice pipes up from the other side of the room. “A-Sang, A-Cheng, I fully support this insightful relationship discussion, but if you’re gonna start making out, can you not do it in my bed?”
“Sshh, we’re having important realizations over here, Wei-xiong.”
“Yeah, shut up, Wei Wuxian.”
“Do you really have to be in my room?!”
Nie Huaisang holds up two shirts, and after careful consideration, he puts one away and then puts the other one in Jiang Cheng’s closet.
Huaisang always left spare clothes with the Jiangs because it’s convenient with how often he stays over, and he always leaves them in Jiang Cheng’s closet instead of Wei Wuxian’s because it’s the neater of the two and he likes being able to find his clothes easily, thank you very much.
So yes, this is also not new - and yes, Jiang Cheng can definitely see the pattern now.
He alternates between watching Huaisang sort and pack his clothes, and watching Turtle push a toy ball around his terrarium.
After a while he asks, “Do you want me to drive you home tomorrow?”
Nie Huaisang considers another pair of shirts. “Hm, thank you for volunteering, but I already have Zonghui picking me up. He’s taking some stuff down to the Nie Corp office too, so it’s just good timing.”
“Oh. Okay, then.” Jiang Cheng nods. Turtle’s toy ball rolls too far so he gingerly nudges it back towards the turtle’s reach. “I guess I’ll just… see you off, then.”
“You should, because you’re a good boyfriend.”
“I mean it!”
“I know.” Jiang Cheng mumbles, poking Turtle, who starts trying to bite his finger. “You too.”
That makes Huaisang turn to him, smiling bright and giddy. “Really?”
“Yeah.” he says, and he seems to think about something before continuing. “Come here.”
Huaisang blinks, but puts his shirts down and crawls the short distance to the bed, perching his head on the edge of it. “What is it?”
Huaisang turns around, curious. He hears shuffling from the bed, then feels fingers drawing his hair behind his neck aside. He holds his breath when something is draped and fastened around his neck, then his hair is stroked back into place.
Huaisang touches the necklace, the pendant, and finally looks down at it-
“Happy Week -or-however-long-we’ve-been-dating-we-just-didn’t-know- sary hope you like it okay I’m gonna prepare for a night hunt now go back to packing your things bye.”
Then Jiang Cheng kisses his cheek and slides off the bed and is out the door, leaving Huaisang staring after him.
Yes, he and Wei Wuxian are brothers, alright. They run so fast .
Huaisang looks down at the present again. The pendant is small and elegant, pink and white iridescent glass, shaped like an inverted teardrop. A lotus petal.
“Turtle…” he says to his pet, “He always buys me stuff, why is this one different?”
Turtle’s response was to push his toy ball around some more.
Huaisang curls in on himself, burying his face on the bed sheets.
“How could I be so lucky?”
Huaisang arrives home and finds his brother first. Nie Mingjue is busy polishing Baxia, but that doesn’t stop Huaisang from tackling him into a hug, saber or not. “Da-ge! I missed you so much! It’s like I never saw you at all this summer!”
Nie Mingjue grunts, but puts his weapon aside and hugs his brother back anyway. “If you just went to the mountains with us instead of hanging around those Jiang boys right after Gusu, then you could’ve seen me more.”
Nie Huaisang draws back with a laugh. “Maybe next year?”
His brother rolls his eyes and flicks his forehead. “You say that every year.”
“Aw, don’t worry, da-ge, school is starting so I’m stuck here in Qinghe again. I’ll make sure to bother you everyday.”
“I’m sure you will.” Mingjue sighs, looking down at his brother properly, combing his hair back in place. “How was Gusu and Yunmeng, anyway?”
“Fun! Lots of learning, and clouds, and Xichen-ge letting me break rules, and Lan Qiren screaming about rules. Wangji and Wuxian are in love but they’re being real dumb about it- Jiang Cheng is an amazing boyfriend- Oh, I took a bunch of baby Jiang disciples to volunteer in the shelter, they were so cute! Also, I went shopping with Yanli-jie, we bought you some new clothes, you’ll like them. I bought one for Baba too. Where is he?”
“In his office- wait, did you say-... Lan Wangji? Like, our Wangji, good boy Wangji?”
“Yes, that Wangji.”
“And Wei Wuxian?”
“Yes, they are in love, da-ge, and it’s tragic, I’ll tell you more about it later. I’m gonna go see Baba!”
And he left just as quickly as he came, leaving his brother to process.
As promised, he finds his Baba in his home office, greeting him the same way he did his da-ge.
“A-Sang! You’re back again.” His father laughs, returning his hug. “Did you have a good time in Yunmeng?”
“I always do!” he grins, perching on his father’s desk. “Also-”
He’s cut off when they hear Nie Mingjue’s voice thunder from outside the room. “NIE HUAISANG!”
Nie Renshu chuckles, resting his chin on his hand as he looks at his youngest son indulgently. “Ah, what could that be about?”
“DID YOU SAY BOYFRIEND?!”
“Yeah, I might have mentioned that I have a boyfriend now.” Huaisang says, sniggering as he fans himself. “Oops.”
“I see.” his father nods. He catches the way his father’s eyes linger on the lotus petal necklace around his neck and he knows he doesn’t need to explain further. “I’m happy for you, A-Sang.”
“Thank you, Baba.” he replies earnestly, hiding his pink cheeks behind his fan.
“Get out of my way, Zonghui! Did you know? Of course you know, he tells you everything!”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, Young Master, but please stop shouting, you’re scaring Turtle.”
“What do you think?” Nie Huaisang asks his father. “Should I pack again and hide at Gusu?”
Nie Renshu laughs and reaches over to pat his son’s head. “Give your brother some time. You know how he gets.” Then, leaning over, he whispers. “For now, go escape through the other door. I’ll distract him for you.”
Huaisang giggles and kisses his father’s cheek before hopping off the desk and heading towards said door. “I love you, Baba!”
is your dage plotting my murder or something?
> a-cheng!!! 💖 how did u know 😳
i felt a chill down my spine and thought
ah must be nie mingjue thinking about me again
> wow dage’s power 🤣🤣🤣
also he texted me to come to qinghe and nothing else.
> oof rip my dearest brand new ✨ boyfriend ✨ i enjoyed our one week together!!!
> i will name a puppy after u 😘
this is wei wuxian’s fault.